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Why I Don’t Like Video-Venues or Live Streaming Church

Someone recently tweeted a link to an article predicting the fall of video-preaching within the next decade. 

Click here to read the post. (HT: @chrisfromcanada)

The research in the article struck a chord in me. You see, I’ve never been a fan of the whole video-venue approach to local church. In fact, I’ve never been a fan of live streaming worship or anything that’s called “online church.” 

Am I against video-venues all together? No.

Am I against live-streaming an event? Absolutely not. 

The keyword in my opinionated statement above is CHURCH.

In my humble opinion, church is relational and personal at its very core. It’s offline. A time & place & way of living where you are actually PRESENT…in real life…in community with each other… and not letting our machines talk to each other. 

This is a good opportunity for me to ramble…but I want to keep it short & sweet for the sake of our short attention span. And you’ve got way more tweets to read that are far more important than mine. ;) So let me end with this:

I like what the article & research says,

the wired generation will desire a more local, personal touch than the man-on-the-screen.” 

"…there is a general distaste for large institutions and man-on-the-screen worship. They’re hungry for authentic, relational community.”

It’s a minority trend among very large churches. But it seems that these churches and leaders tend to dictate the conversation about ministry in our culture. The echo-chamber-effect means that even leaders of human-scale-congregations (100-500 people) are talking about video preaching because the conference circuit and publishing pastors are into it. ” (this is sad & drives me nuts! Think for yourselves, churches, and quit trying to mimic the conferences and cool pastors! They were never intended to be models for your own unique, local ministry!)

Also, I highly recommend watching this video of Ian Cron. He really gets into it. Even goes as far as saying that live streaming your worship is a little PORNOGRAPHIC.

Yep. 

Watch to find out why: 

That’s all for now. =)

Real vs Fake

It’s funny to me, that we humans (esp Americans) desire the “fake” more than true reality…but we want it to look & feel as real as possible.

Our flesh gravitates us toward these false realities…in life, love, entertainment & worship. Yet we cry fowl if the degree of authenticity is too low… a line that is ever moving but should never be crossed.

Yet what about imagination? What about making visible the invisible? What about telling the story of what’s yet to come? We wish to see the unseen and will create the highest level of art to help us “get there.”

But what’s the difference between something that’s fake and something that simply might not exist from our perspective? Could it be that experiencing the impossible is actually closer to reality than fantasy?

What Is My Calling?

I was emailing with a mentor of mine last night. We were discussing a company that we both have a working relationship with…a company that is full of amazing people doing great things for the Kingdom. But it is also very focused in a few areas…one of which is helping churches make the shift into the 21st Century (which looks different for every church). 


In the email, she was explaining that though it’s great work, it’s not what God has wired her to do. It got me thinking about my own calling in the Kingdom.I replied the following to her:


"You said something that made me think: "But if you want to help shift a congregation into a new view of anything, it’s not what they’re about."hmmm….not sure i’m really wanting to shift current congregations. I think i just do what I do, I speak into it and explain it, give them the tools necessary to do it, point them in the right direction, give em a MAP even (the Guidebook i wrote), and speak the language of visual worship & curation…. but if they don’t move, that’s not on me. and that’s not my job.I can only resource, equip and inspire….but i can’t move them. If I pull at a church, it’s like forcing a stubborn mule to plow a field. Ain’t gonna happen, sister.


but you know what I DO want to do actively???TWO THINGS:


1) Raise up the next generation and MENTOR MENTOR MENTOR.


2) Give away all the Kingdom beauty I can to the LEAST OF THESE…. especially overseas. Too many are hungry for Jesus. American churches are fat and picky. We have shut their ears and eyes to the Lord. And we sit here trying to entertain ourselves into the throne room.But that’s not the Kingdom. It has “Jesus” written all over it, but it’s not the Kingdom.The rich young ruler (american church) is saddened to leave all his possessions to follow Jesus, and he turns away torn and confused. B/c our religious events and possessions are our own little kingdoms. and so we have received our reward in full. and we wonder why our churches are struggling. why we’re not experiencing what Ian (Cron) so eloquently dreamed about out-loud back in May. And we actually believe the lie that we are “cutting edge”. HA!

It’s easier to get a jack-ass to walk throw the eye of a needle than for a church in the West to give up it’s earthly identity, traditions and possessions and truly follow Christ.


But do i turn my back on Her? No. I love well and walk in the tension. And I realize that most of the time, I’m the problem. But when it comes to calling…. I resource, equip and inspire… and then I move on. If they invite me in, I bless their house of worship. And if they refuse me, I shake the dust off my feet and walk on.

But raising up a generation of visual worshipers … and giving the beauty of the Kingdom (and the KING) away to the least of these…. that’s where it’s at.and that’s where I’m headed!


you coming with me?”

"Curating a Movement"

Hong Kong Symphony of Lights

I just got an email from an old college friend of mine. He linked to a blog post where announced that he and his family are launching a “big, hairy, audacious vision.”

"After praying, seeking counsel, and walking in faith, we believe God is calling us to sell everything we have and move to Hong Kong for the purpose of curating a movement of God among the people of Asia."

My heart is about to beat out of my chest! I swear to you that one day I’ll be writing similar words. I’ll probably just steal theirs. =)

Naming the Indescribable

"The Creator God has given us creativity and the arts so that we may "name" experiences, just as God commissioned Adam to name the animals in the Garden. It is significant that God gave authority and freedom to Adam, "and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name." God did not question Adam’s decisions. God completely  entrusted to Adam the responsibility of naming as part of human stewardship over God’s creation. In the fallen realities of our days, God continues to affirm our creative responses to the darkened horizon, and by naming the indescribable, we may yet discover our hope to endure yet another dark day. God may allow our expressions to be etched in eternity, just as Adam’s names were allowed to be the final word."

~ Makoto Fujimura, from "Refractions"

"What makes us truly human may not be how fast we are able to accomplish a task but what we experience fully, carefully, and quietly in the process."

- Mako Fujimura (from Refractions)

Entertainment vs Art

Something I learned while attending Mako Fujimura’s Int’l Arts Movement “Encounter” conference a few months ago:


We need the arts to awaken us to the realities of the Kingdom of God. To awaken the fullness of our human potential and to help us realize that.

The main difference between the arts & entertainment:
Entertainment gives you a predictable pleasure. Art gives you pleasure but leads to transformation. It awakens you rather than just satisfies a craving.


I wonder how many of our worship gatherings are curated in a way that only satisfies a predictable spiritual pleasure … versus … truly leading to transformation.


If we truly want art to flourish in our worship expression, we’ve got to let go of the reigns a bit and give up some control and expectation of certain results, otherwise our artistic efforts will result in (& be perceived as) entertainment. The difference between art & entertainment is stark…but the gap is probably marginally small.


Art is not predictable. But that doesn’t seem to fit nicely into Planning Center Online or a tightly executed minute-by-minute production flow. We need to build in some margin & to let our worship events breathe a little. At least that’s a good place to start.

Space & silence are so valuable.

read more here: http://worshipVJ.com/entertainment-vs-art/

TRAINING WHEELS

I think of projecting lyrics onto a screen like i think of training wheels on a bike. at some point, you gotta take ‘em off. Is there a chance you could crash & burn, maybe scrape your knee up a little? Sure. But if you never take the training wheels off, you’re kid (congregation) will always depend on them and will never learn to ride the bike.


how does this apply in reality? Let’s say you are singing a well-known chorus…an old favorite. Planned or spontaneous, not projecting lyrics can send a subtle message and feeling that this is an unplanned, in the moment love expression to God. Off the beaten path. Unscripted. Unrehearsed. And beautiful!


or maybe it’s a new song, like “How He Loves” … the chorus is pretty simple, people. Come on! And you know you sing it over and over again. So why the need to clutter up the atmosphere with text that everyone knows already? Take off the training wheels and let the bike fly down the street!


At some point you don’t need to LEAD your congregation in worship. You’ve done your job in “getting them there” (where ever “there” is), and you need to simply let go, stand behind them, and get out of the way. They can ride the worship bike faster than you can run, anyways… trust me.


“But what about visitors who don’t know all our songs?” Ah, I just love that argument! At the end of the day, I’m going to curate an event that takes my “family” deeper into worship… and if a few new people can’t track along with every single moment, then sorry… But I honestly think that a visitor will be compelled more by a family worshiping authentically and climbing into the mystery of the gospel than a well rehearsed, programmatic event where they are spoon fed their worship experience every step of the way.


I know for me, I’d rather take off my floaties and dive down to the depths of worship than simply swim safely at the top where I’m guaranteed not to drown.

Disagree? That’s fine. I welcome the debate.